Residents and local government officials yesterday unveiled what they hoped would be the world's biggest pair of shoe.

The P1.2 million ($23,076) men's shoe, which is 5.5 metres long, 2.35 metres wide and 1.83 metres high, was unveiled in eastern suburban Marikina City.

"Thirty people can fit inside the shoe," said Marikina City Mayor, Marides Fernando. "We are proud of Marikina for being the shoe capital of the Philippines. With our venture, who knows, Marikina could be the shoe capital of the world."

Fernando said that her city's opulent showcase is meant to underline Marikina's bid for entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Two representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records were supposed to witness the event, but they cancelled their trip because of the bombings in the country this month, Ryan Salvador of the city information office said.

Marty Snortum of El Paso, Texas, U.S.A., and Zahit Okular of Turkey hold the world record for the biggest shoe on display. They exhibited their products at the Kenya international shoe fair in 2000.

"We hope that this project will further inspire other Filipino shoe manufacturers to do their best in the manufacture of their products," Fernando said as she also launched Marikina's month-long shoemakers' festival.

"The organisers chose a men's shoe instead of a women's shoe for this project because men's shoe styles are more or less stable," said architect Ernesto R. Leano.

Sources said the shoemakers were afraid of making a cavernous high-heeled shoe.

The shoemakers – Noel B. Cox, Daniel Cotter, Florinio de Asis Romel C. Villareal, Emmanuel G. Samson, Arthur B. Rivera, Arman M. Javier, Norman C. Arada, and Cesar P. Paz – all said they were happy with the outcome of their "labour of love" on which they spent 77 days crafting.

The shoe on the pedestal is size 753, based on the standard size of French shoes. Only a giant can wear it, said Fernando. It is made of genuine leather. The Valenzuela Tannery in northern suburban Bulacan was responsible for the leather used for the shoe.

"We could have made 250 pairs of regular-sized shoes with the leather that we used in the project," noted Fernando.

The other aim of Fernando is to get more support to make Marikina's shoe industry globally competitive.

Marikina's showcase and pride is located in an air-conditioned shoe museum which also houses 700 of the 2,000 pairs of shoes of former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Many residents believe that Marcos helped put Marikina on the world map. The shoes of Marcos were once a symbol of her decadent lifestyle while her husband, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, ruled a developing country from 1965 until their ouster by a people-backed military mutiny in 1986.

Marikina is known as Metro Manila's cleanest city. "We want Marikina to be known as the place where Filipinos and foreigners can have their shoes custom built," noted Fernando.

The city mayor is the wife of former mayor Bayani Fernando, now the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.